SILVER CREEK - The Silver Creek Central School District is taking a new approach to try to curb underage drinking and drug use in students. The district will start targeting parents in an effort to keep teens sober.
The announcement came in a press release from the Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council saying Superintendent Daniel Ljiljanich is looking into the different method for students. Parents of students starting in 8th grade and up who attend Silver Creek High School this September are required to attend a program on underage drinking and drug use from 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 2 in the high school auditorium.
This is the first time a district in Chautauqua County has done this type of education for parents. Other districts across the state and Erie County have been doing these for a few years. Parents who have previously participated say it was helpful to them and there was a lot of information they didn't know.
Students whose parents do not attend will not be allowed to participate in homecoming events or dances, including the junior and senior proms. Parents still have the greatest impact on what their teens do. It is important for parents to have factual information and talk with their kids about expectations, boundaries and consequences when it comes to alcohol and drug use.
In a letter forwarded to parents, School Principal James Klubek noted the New York State Youth Development Pride Survey revealed that alcohol is the most widely used drug among Silver Creek youth. The survey reported that 25 percent of grades 7 through 12 reported use in the 30 days before the survey was given.
"There is a direct correlation between early-onset drinking and the severity of abuse," Klubek said.
Alcohol use in the formative teen years can have major consequences for youth. Their brain development at that time is such that use of alcohol and other drugs has a greater impact on development than on an adult. Decision-making, risk-taking behavior and other risk factors can be heightened due to use by adolescents. It is important that parents become aware of the risks involved to their children's safety and future success.
Presentations will be given by Paul Bogosian on Underage Drinking and the Adolescent Brain, Sheriff Joseph Gerace on parent responsibility under the law, Judge Walter Drag on Drug Court and a parent volunteer whose child has been in the Renaissance House for treatment. Other presentations will be by Jinelle Burger, pupil personnel services who will present information from a recent Search Institute Survey on asset development, and Pat Munson from the CASAC who will present an overview of the Pride Youth Development Survey results.
Parents will be required to sign a document to verify they attended the event. It is an adult program and students will not be permitted to attend. Doors will be locked at 7:15 p.m. Anyone arriving later will not be permitted into the auditorium.
Since 1974, CASAC, a United Way supported agency, has provided prevention education and community awareness regarding alcohol and other drugs. CASAC is the only New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services approved and supported alcohol and other drug prevention agency in Chautauqua County. For further information about CASAC programs and services, call the Jamestown office at 664-3608, or the Dunkirk office at 366-4623, or go to CASAC's website, www.casacweb.org.
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